Greater Trail residents are invited to step out and raise awareness on kidney disease this weekend.
The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. branch will hold its fourth annual walk in 19 communities across the province, with Trail doing its part Sunday.
There are approximately 500 people in the Kootenays who suffer from the disease, known as the “silent killer” because its affects are unnoticeable until 50 per cent of kidney function is lost. Some symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, puffiness of ankle, feet or eyes and persistent itching.
“Don’t ignore the signs because they call it the silent killer and it really is,” said Linda Ratke, who just celebrated her one-year anniversary with her new kidney. “Most moments I wake up and I think this is amazing, another day free of dialysis.”
Radtke was first diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease in 2008 and went through dialysis, a hemodialysis machine that removes waste products as well as water from the blood.
The coordinator of Kate’s Kitchen is now back to work, following the transplant she received this time last year.
“The freedom is amazing,” she said. “I no longer have to go to dialysis three days a week and be hooked up to a machine – it really weighs you down.”
The walk is not only a way to raise money but it also helps raise awareness.
“The event’s overall message is to get people signed up for donor donation,” said Jennifer Watkin, Trail walk coordinator.
Though 85 per cent of B.C. residents say they support organ donation and intend to register their decision, only 17 per cent have done so.
Residents are enocurged to take part in the walk that starts at 10 a.m. (registration at 9 a.m.) at Gyro Park, pledge for participants and sign up to become a kidney donor.
Pledge forms for the walk can be picked up at various locations in each participating community, including Kootenay Savings in Trail. They can also be found online at www.trailkidneywalk.ca
Residents can sign up to become a donor at transplant.ca